Perhaps it is egocentric, or simply lazy, but the quotations immediately got me thinking about my self and my own life currently. In the beginning of the semester, I felt confident and prepared to overcome the changes COVID-19 has created. Online classes, limited social interactions, and most places closed down would be no problem for a naive junior excited to be an adult and live off-campus in a house of his own for the first time! This was the case for approximately a week or two. Then, I dropped off and reverted back to my old habits. My work ethic is still a tremendous work in progress. In High School, I was smart enough to avoid being a good student. Only in college, when the work load became harder and more abundant and my motivation did not change did I realize something needed to be fixed. Unfortunately, this is what I revert back to when I get behind, and where I am currently at during this time.
“Forget talent. If you have it, fine.” This portion of the Butler quote reminded me almost exactly of the version of myself that was previously mentioned. I was a naturally smart and perceptive kid, so I did not have to do the readings, the homework, the classwork, and my grades would not show any of that because I could figure most of the tests out. I had the talent, but I did not realize that I had to do something with it. Within the same quote, Butler says “A habit is more dependable than inspiration.” Alternately, this quote spoke to my current state, and the state I would like to achieve in the future. I am slowly building the habits that make a responsible student. As an education major, I think this is an incredibly important thing to accomplish. How could I go into a classroom and expect my students to put in hard work and dedication, if I never did that myself when I was in their position. These habits will also carry over to things far outside the education world and as a 20 year old, the habits I form now could arguably be the most important habits of my life. I am still young enough that I can make a change, but old enough to realize what changes need to be made. Because, I fully understand that bad habits can form just as easy (if not easier) as the good ones. I believe that we, as humans, live in patterns. As we saw in Dawn, Lilith could reproduce her “daily” routine with almost no effort due to the amount of times she was tasked with repeating it; she could even predict what would happen. Once she was finally free from her single room, it was difficult for Lilith to adapt to not being imprisoned. In our own, less severe way, the Corona virus has imprisoned all of us. Of course, we have the free will to leave our homes, but there is no denying that it has taken away our normal way of life. I have noticed two patterns within myself during this time. As simply as possible, there is a high and a low. My highs are great; I am motivated and ready to use this time of isolation to improve myself and come out of this period of semi-self-isolation as a better version of myself. This perspective of my attitude was the first three weeks of school. Then, and now, the lows are taking over. I am going through the motions, doing what I have to do (and sometimes less) to make it through. Luckily, I have learned what these mentalities look like and have seen the patterns that they follow, so a new high is just around the corner.
“Learn and Run!” has been a recent mindset that I possessed long before reading this quote. Instead, I usually say “all of my friends are smarter than me.” I do not mean this to self-deprecate, as I have already stated, I am perhaps too smart (and humble!) for my own good. Rather, I say this with the same intentions as Butler. I see what my friends are doing. Friends who are personal trainers, computer scientists, medical and law students, and engineers all have pieces of information to share with me. Perhaps everything they share with me will not result in me being the worlds first muscular-doctor-lawyer-engineer-scientist, but instead they let me into their worlds. The second half of Butler’s quote “and Run,” is then up to me. Usually, I will run. Learning is one of my favorite activities, because everything has unknown sciences and reasoning behind it. A conductor does not simply wave their arms at an orchestra, but rather there are cues and messages with almost every movement. Observing, noticing, and (sorry for the plagiarism!) thinkING are far more important aspects of interaction than the favorite, speaking. Speaking only gets someone so far, and speaking is the easiest interaction to present yourself with whatever façade you chose to don or not don. When I am meeting someone for the first time, as much as I am listening to the words they are saying, I watch them; I observe them. How are they standing? Do they appear comfortable with themselves? What are they wearing? What stories do their physical appearances tell? I do not use these observations to manipulate of judge the person, but then I am comfortable and confident enough to properly speak with them. Now that I know about the person, I know how I can connect with them, how I can form a bond that I want to form. While I am not able to feel seeds growing in the ground, I do believe that these are also sensory receptions.
I have been noticing, observing, thinkING, most about myself. Not because, as much as this essay may beg to differ, I love to think about myself. Rather because if I do not understand what is happening within my own life, I cannot expect to understand what is happening elsewhere. I have a lot of growth to do. I know that the work is not too much, but I need to build the habits that I want to have in order to be the best version of myself. I have the talent and the potential and every other attribute that could go to waste if I continue in this low. Of course, lows are okay to have, we are all human. But actively trying to get out of these lows and improve myself has been the goal and will continue to be the goal. I have my intentions set and I know how to achieve them, now I need to run.